A seemingly noncontroversial subject -- discussion of the town letterhead, seal and logo design -- sparked an unexpected barrage of criticism directed against Mayor Chuck Heron Tuesday night.
The Star Valley Council approved the three designs in June, but that was the last that was done.
"We need to move on this." Heron said. "This has been in the works for a long time."
Councilor Mary Ann Kotelnicki, the chairwoman of the logo, seal and letterhead committee, wondered why she was not consulted on this proposal.
She said it was not her intent to offend, embarrass or attack any public opinion on this, but added that from June 18 to Aug. 1 no one approached her.
On Aug. 1, Heron scheduled a small meeting with Councilor Bill Rappaport, the town attorney and Bernadette Heath, who presented the winning design for the town's seal to discuss how to move forward.
The meeting was called, Kotelnicki said, to discuss what would be placed on the town's business cards.
In August, Kotelnicki said that the business cards should be put on the back burner.
She said what disturbs her is the fact that the mayor had already made his decision without input from most of the council. She said Heron went to Printing by George and ordered the business cards with his own money.
Kotelnicki said she spoke to Mike Rokoff, a resident who submitted one of the winning designs, and was this is what the mayor wants, and she should go along with it.
She also said that the mayor modified one of the designs after they were approved by the council in June.
"I have attended all of the council meetings, and the business cards were never discussed," she said. "The behavior of the mayor was unbecoming. A ‘yes' vote on this issue will be an insult to the residents of Star Valley. I thought we were suppose to work in a cooperative (way)."
She also said a "yes" vote would show little regard to all the people who participated in this project.
"This was not a contest. This was all volunteers. These issues are not a life or death situation," she said. "I urge you to focus on your priorities and interests. I am certain we can live with the (delay).
"A vote of ‘yes' acts as a dangerous precedent," she continued. "There would be no reason for committees and councils if the mayor makes all of the decisions."
She then lashed out, saying it appeared Heron was on an ego trip with personal opinions.
She also asked Rappaport to explain why he attended the small meeting that Heron called.
"I spent 30 years in business. One of the first things I gave my employees were business cards," Rappaport said. "A business card is your identity."
Heron said he had placed the item on the agenda because nothing had been done to implement the designs since they were voted on and approved by the council in June.
"I want to put this thing to bed," he said. "We are a town and we need to be professional."
Vice Mayor Randy White said it appears the proper protocol was not followed since the chairwoman of the seal, logo and letterhead committee was not invited to the meeting to discuss the three designs.
"It sounds like the wrong people were in the meeting," White said.
Heron said the designs should be incorporated and need sit in a drawer for six months.
The council decided to table this item and order generic business cards that could be used for the interim.
Heron abstained from the vote with Rappaport being the lone dissenter.
The Star Valley Town Council will change its regular meeting times.
Normally, the council meets at 6 p.m. with a work session at 5 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of every month.
The days will remain the same, but the regular council meeting will be pushed back to 6:30 p.m. to allow 90 minutes for the work session that precedes the regular meeting.
Having the work session on another day was discussed, though Kotelnicki said it would not be feasible for the public. She said the residents do not want to attend two separate meetings on different days.
"If we have a meeting here, three times a week, it may discourage people from attending," she said.
Town Manager Lanny Sloan said the council could consider not placing items on the work session that will also be discussed and voted on in the regular meeting.
Town Attorney Cliff Mattice, who was filling in for Fredda Bisman, said 90-minute meetings work well for most city and town work sessions.
The council will need to vote on the time change another two times to make it official, and Heron proposed having the work sessions start at 4:30 p.m. in the interim.
In other news, the Star Valley Council:
- Entered into an intergovernmental agreement with Dorothy Little to provide magistrate services to Star Valley for $2,000.
- Directed Sloan to get additional information from one of the bid applicants before entering into a contract for road and street maintenance on an as needed basis.
- Appointed Steve Bingham to the planning and zoning commission.
- Approved an IGA with Gila County for prosecution and administration services.
- Approved contracting out with a building inspector on an as needed basis.
-- To reach Michael Maresh call 474-5251 ext. 112 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.